By Indiewire | Indiewire July 13, 2007 at 6:25AM
Lionsgate has announced its acquisition of U.S. distribution rights to "Borat" director Larry Charles' untitled documentary about world religion. Produced by Jonah Smith and Palmer West of Thousand Words, the film features Bill Maher in a humorous (and likely controversial) exploration of the world's major religious institutions. The company is planning a Spring '08 release. IM Global, which is handling international sales, screened selections from the film during private showings at their Cannes Market suite in May. The deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by theatrical president Tom Ortenberg, acquisitions VP Eda Kowan and EVP Wendy Jaffe with CAA and attorney Alan Grodin on behalf of Thousand Words and the filmmakers. "It's an honor and a privilege to be working with Larry Charles and Bill Maher, two of the sharpest, funniest minds in show business," said Ortenberg, in a statement. "I can't imagine a better team to tackle the subject of religion in a smart, inventive and unpretentious way. We feel this film can play as broadly as a Michael Moore film, and it's sure to be as provocative, informative and entertaining as any documentary in recent memory." In a statement, Maher added, "Comedically, the topic of religion is hitting the side of a barn -- it's literally hard to miss. This movie will make you laugh so hard you'll pray for it to stop." While Charles said in a statement, "Nietzsche said God is dead, but he didn't see the grosses for 'Passion of the Christ."